This small village of Chocó has a long and delicious culinary tradition to which two foundations, working with the community, bet on it through an innovative project.

You have to look at the map more than once to locate Coquí. It is not enough to search among the populations of Chocó. You have to go further, and once you find Nuquí, lower your eyes a little more. There you will find a point that marks this village of 120 people who, despite its size, has much to tell and, above all, to offer.

In the region and its surroundings, Coquí is famous for several years for the quality and good seasoning that its cooks print to their traditional dishes. It is not about people studied or instructed in cooking academies, but about the women of the community themselves, who have received the recipes of their mothers and grandmothers, and with what the land and the sea give them, they prepare surprising dishes to the most demanding palates.

These preparations are legendary, and have attracted the attention of tourists for years, to the point that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism sponsors the festival of Siembra Negro Gastronomy, where each year the women of Coquí present their best dishes. This year, more than 700 people came to the festival.

That good seasoning, and a genuine interest in protecting and stimulating these traditions, led the Funleo and Chocó Emprende foundations to join together to create Zotea Culinary Experience, “an integral center of gastronomy that seeks to gather knowledge around culinary and cuisine local. We want it to be a place for knowledge exchange, where you can see gastronomy from a holistic point of view. We also seek to generate opportunities for a region that is absolutely diverse in terms of culture, nature and heritage, “explains Laura Hernández Espinosa, director of Funleo, a foundation created by her mother, the famous chef Leonor Espinosa, who has been accompanying her for several years. to the women of the community to give them more tools when it comes to cooking.

Along with Marina and Laura, entrepreneur Woods Staton and chef Leonor Espinosa have also supported Zotea from the beginning. Both visit frequently Coquí and are in contact with the community

Another of the project’s managers is Marina Mackinlay, director of the Chocó Emprende Foundation: “For me, Zotea at this moment is a dream come true, it is the encouragement to believe that we can, and that the joint work achieves concrete dreams”, she states.

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